CEO Update | 17 May 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues worldwide, I chaired an emergency Board meeting of the International Council of Biotech Associations (ICBA) on what more our sector can do to  help the global vaccination effort.

There was a strong consensus that a focus on maximizing and increasing global supply is needed – ensuring there are no trade barriers to global supply chains and that health systems are able to deliver the vaccines produced, as well as ensuring populations are happy to participate in the vaccine programme. We were united in a common view that an IP waiver is not the solution to this wicked problem, however superficially attractive and easy it may seem. The Economist this week gives a full, accessible and thoughtful analysis on the global challenge. Along with ICBA colleagues, I will be representing the sector’s views to multinational organisations in the coming weeks.

This week is Scaleup week organised by the ScaleUp Institute and I will be meeting with Ministers to stress the specific needs of these vital businesses which are crucial to the UK’s economic growth. A good member example I’ll be highlighting is Arecor from Cambridge. Not only was a grant from the Biomedical Catalyst an important part of their scaling story, they have also announced today that they plan to go public on the AIM market to seek growth capital for their innovative Aresta technology, which has the potential to be life-changing for patients by enabling new approaches such as the artificial pancreas and miniaturised pumps.

The BIA has its own Start Up festival this Wednesday, bringing together the best rising talent in the sector for a day of networking, one-to-one meetings and educational sessions to enable learning from peers and established industry experts.

I continue to represent our members at meetings with government. At last week's Life Sciences Council I was delighted to hear plans for a Life Sciences Sector Vision to be published later in the year to which we will input and I’m looking forward to further meetings with Ministers on UK trade policy this week.

For those of you in England I hope you are able to enjoy the latest relaxations of COVID-19 restrictions particularly as summer beckons.